A collection of former lawmakers, academics and military officials gathered this week just a few blocks from the White House to discuss extraterrestrial life.  Some of them even thought the government is covering up proof it.

Former Democratic Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska, who ran in the presidential primaries as a both Democrat and a Libertarian in 2008, reportedly asserted: “Something is monitoring the planet, and they are monitoring it very cautiously, because we are a very warlike planet.”

He also told the Top Line the government is lying about the “extraterrestrial influence that is investigating our planet.”

“It goes right to the White House, and of course, once the White House takes a position, ‘well there’s nothing going on’…it just goes down the chain of command, everyone stands toe,” he said.

The New York Times has some background on the event:

Mr. Gravel and his fellow panelists were assembled by the Paradigm Research Group, which says it is committed to ending the government’s “truth embargo” on the existence of extraterrestrial life. The lawmakers were there in hopes that their presence and political credibility would be enough to persuade Congress to take the issue seriously.

“I’ve been exploring how we might get this issue out of the shadows of the lunatic fringe,” said Roscoe G. Bartlett, a former Republican representative from Maryland. Before his defeat last year, Mr. Bartlett was known for sounding the alarm on the threat posed to the nation’s energy infrastructure by electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, the shock wave from a nuclear weapon detonated beyond the earth’s atmosphere.

Called the Citizen Hearing on Disclosure, the event might have been mistaken as advocacy for government transparency, and some of the panelists had impressive résumés.

“I’ve come to understand and appreciate the importance of open, transparent government and the power of truth,” said Paul T. Hellyer, who served as Canadian minister of defense during the 1960s.

We are not alone in the cosmos,” he added.  [Emphasis added]

It should also be noted that the panelists were paid $20,000, according to reports.

Carolyn Kilpatrick, a Democratic representative from Michigan who was voted out in 2010, was one of the six former members of Congress on the panel.

“Our country has trivialized [the issue], has made it a joke, has made it green people with horns sticking out,” she said.  “Now I find that it’s much more than that. And it’s not a joke. And there is scientific data that there may be something there.”

Top Line has more on the unusual story: